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Old 02-22-2021, 10:09 AM   #1
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Potential trailer help (73 sovereign)

Hi everyone! my name is alexander and I am new to the forum. I currently do not own a travel trailer but and looking at one for sale near me. The one I'm looking at has badges that say Airstream Land Yacht Sovereign manufactured in 1973. This project for me would basically be a "frame off resto mod" (car term but figured it suited this) of the whole trailer. The interior looks in OKAY shape, just a mess right now and as I assume some of it is chip board some is probably no good. I do understand that it is going to be a long project but the trailer looks in decent shape and the body just has some dings and dents here and there, nothing big. The biggest issue I can see with it is that all the glass is broken out of it. Last I knew the owner was asking $600 for it but it has sit for awhile so I think I can get them to lower the price at least a little.

is there anything I should look for when looking at it again?
Is the glass going to be a pain or expensive to replace?
am I crazy/jumping in over my head with this?

I feel like I'm definitely jumping in over my head but feel like at the price point I could probably clean it up and flip it if nothing else
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:28 AM   #2
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Well, that's a field mouse, for sure.Its fairly close to free.See if he will pay you to haul it off.
If you've got a place to put it,only time will tell.From what I've seen at forums, you can replace most windows with plexiglass.And generic replacements are available.
But that's just the start of it...
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:49 PM   #3
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Well, that's a field mouse, for sure.Its fairly close to free.See if he will pay you to haul it off.
If you've got a place to put it,only time will tell.From what I've seen at forums, you can replace most windows with plexiglass.And generic replacements are available.
But that's just the start of it...
thanks B. Cole, Ill look into the plexiglass replacement. I will try and get the price dropped but the owner is a junk yard so I'm assuming they wouldn't even consider paying me to haul it off. I'm guessing it was sold as scrap and the guy thought he could make a buck on it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:50 PM   #4
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also, "field mouse"?
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:57 PM   #5
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also, "field mouse"?
Field mouse-= "A trailer sitting in a field, Windows broken out.Weeds growing around and into it.
Interior exposed to the elements."
Put a pair of big Disney Micky Mouse ears on the front.Thats a big mouse hotel.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:59 PM   #6
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thanks B. Cole, Ill look into the plexiglass replacement. I will try and get the price dropped but the owner is a junk yard so I'm assuming they wouldn't even consider paying me to haul it off. I'm guessing it was sold as scrap and the guy thought he could make a buck on it.
That's exactly what the junk yard owner is doing.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:07 PM   #7
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Will the owner be able to provide you with a title signed over to you?
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:13 PM   #8
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Will the owner be able to provide you with a title signed over to you?
Probably a Salvage title from a junk yard.Like a car.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:21 PM   #9
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I wouldn’t do it. No matter how nice a job you do, plexiglass windows never look right, warp easily and yellow eventually.

Guarantee the floors are shot. Appliances shot. Axles shot.

You are looking at thousands and thousands of dollars in materials and countless hours of labor to end up with a barely presentable, not particularly collectible Airstream. You will never recoup the $$$ or the sweat equity.

If you are going to put that kind of effort in, try and find one of the collectible models, say a ‘63 and be prepared to spend years.

Or, wait out the weird Covid 19 market, and find an actually useable, presentable early 90’s unit that you can actually camp in when you like and tinker with to your heart’s content when you are at home.

I hate to be so overwhelmingly negative but I have seen so many folks go into a restoration and end up selling the partially completed project years later for 10 cents on the dollar...
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:35 PM   #10
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I wouldn’t do it. No matter how nice a job you do, plexiglass windows never look right, warp easily and yellow eventually.

Guarantee the floors are shot. Appliances shot. Axles shot.

You are looking at thousands and thousands of dollars in materials and countless hours of labor to end up with a barely presentable, not particularly collectible Airstream. You will never recoup the $$$ or the sweat equity.

If you are going to put that kind of effort in, try and find one of the collectible models, say a ‘63 and be prepared to spend years.

Or, wait out the weird Covid 19 market, and find an actually useable, presentable early 90’s unit that you can actually camp in when you like and tinker with to your heart’s content when you are at home.

I hate to be so overwhelmingly negative but I have seen so many folks go into a restoration and end up selling the partially completed project years later for 10 cents on the dollar...
I definitely see where you’re coming from, that being said the trailer is in decent shape and I believe in rolling condition and axles are fine, just need new tires. I will have to double check this tho. As far as the time into in it I am not worried about, I’m looking at getting it for the project aspect of it and not the end game. I currently do car body work, mechanic work, and am a jack of all trades maintenance guy for a zoo and a hobby woodworker so I’m looking at this as a fun challenge to put my skills to the test, having a functioning trailer at the end is just icing on the cake.

I also was thinking that with it being $600 or less than even if I just clean it up and make it more presentable I could flip it for what I have into it, maybe?
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
I wouldn’t do it. No matter how nice a job you do, plexiglass windows never look right, warp easily and yellow eventually.

Guarantee the floors are shot. Appliances shot. Axles shot.

You are looking at thousands and thousands of dollars in materials and countless hours of labor to end up with a barely presentable, not particularly collectible Airstream. You will never recoup the $$$ or the sweat equity.

If you are going to put that kind of effort in, try and find one of the collectible models, say a ‘63 and be prepared to spend years.

Or, wait out the weird Covid 19 market, and find an actually useable, presentable early 90’s unit that you can actually camp in when you like and tinker with to your heart’s content when you are at home.

I hate to be so overwhelmingly negative but I have seen so many folks go into a restoration and end up selling the partially completed project years later for 10 cents on the dollar...
Exactly.No point in candy coating it...
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:41 PM   #12
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As with most trailers this age, and especially the Field Mice... What you are buying is the shell. The interior will be mostly garbage, the frame will require repairs, the floors, and practically everything else will be replaced. The axles need to be replaced as they are rubber torsion axles, and they last 20-25 years. You can't replace dried out rubber rods.

Anyway, it sounds like you are taking on a project with eyes wide open, so, what the heck, go for it. The thing that is probably making most of us readers question whether you know what you are signing up for is the fact that you are hesitating over the $600 price tag. If many of your windows are broken, you could spend well over $600 in window glass. Then comes the appliances. Cost of entry...at least $600 per appliance (for the most part).

Could you buy it an flip it? Depends on your morals. There are many horror stories on these forums that start with "I bought this vintage trailer thinking it was ready to camp, but then found..."

good luck!
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:14 AM   #13
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The $600 will be the least expensive part of the project. Plexiglass windows fade and discolor with time. Don't do this unless you have done a less complicated trailer rebuild in the past and are willing to invest 1 to 2 years working every weekend. BTW, axles that old are shot - they may roll/tow fine if you lube hubs but you will need to replace them. They have a rubber torque band inside that petrifies that old...the trailer has no suspension movement. Just add a few thousand more dollars to the project cost...
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:24 AM   #14
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Go for it! After being involved in the rebuilding/remodeling of 3 trailers, I believe you don't have much to lose with a $600 investment. Even if you get into the project and it's not salvageable, you should be able to recover costs by parting it out. With your attitude, trade and skill set you have a lot to offer the project.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:08 PM   #15
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As with most trailers this age, and especially the Field Mice... What you are buying is the shell. The interior will be mostly garbage, the frame will require repairs, the floors, and practically everything else will be replaced. The axles need to be replaced as they are rubber torsion axles, and they last 20-25 years. You can't replace dried out rubber rods.

Anyway, it sounds like you are taking on a project with eyes wide open, so, what the heck, go for it. The thing that is probably making most of us readers question whether you know what you are signing up for is the fact that you are hesitating over the $600 price tag. If many of your windows are broken, you could spend well over $600 in window glass. Then comes the appliances. Cost of entry...at least $600 per appliance (for the most part).

Could you buy it an flip it? Depends on your morals. There are many horror stories on these forums that start with "I bought this vintage trailer thinking it was ready to camp, but then found..."

good luck!
I wouldn't say I'm hesitating over $600 price tag, I'm just looking for opinions for the whole project in general. The thing I was most worried about is the windows, as i'm sure the glass can add up. but this one doesn't have the wrap around windows (which i'm guessing are the really expensive ones on other models). I definitely would say I'm eyes wide open when doing this, especially since, as i said, i want to do full frame off resto on it. The frame looks in good shape with minor fixes and surface rust. I didn't know about the rubber axles but I planned on getting new everything anyway. My main concern about the axles is being able to take it the couples miles to my house without having get trailer it out.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:43 PM   #16
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I have all the original interior equipment in mint condition if you ever decide to make it original from my 73. Magic oven, water pump, Uni volt, ac unit, rooftop antenna, etc. I am modernizing mine with all new stuff. Just message me if you end up purchasing.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:48 PM   #17
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thank you all for the responses, it is nice to get feedback. I just wanted to clarify a few things... as stated in the OP I want to do a frame off resto mod on this, I expect the floor to be shot, I expect appliances to be shot,. Re-do everything, and not keep the inside original but customize how I want to, so I'm not planning to use interior pieces and anything that is salvageable I'll probably just try and sell as parts. I'm Looking at this, as Belegedhel said, as a shell. I also understand that this is not just a weekend project and I will be tinkering with it for months if not years. I'm also not worried about cost as I am not trying to get this done in a record I plan to work on it when funds are available. I also have worked on utility trailers, helped fix an old trotwood, and have done my research so that I have an idea of what i'm getting into as far as the trailer/axles go.
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:32 PM   #18
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I wouldn't say I'm hesitating over $600 price tag, I'm just looking for opinions for the whole project in general. The thing I was most worried about is the windows, as i'm sure the glass can add up. but this one doesn't have the wrap around windows (which i'm guessing are the really expensive ones on other models). I definitely would say I'm eyes wide open when doing this, especially since, as i said, i want to do full frame off resto on it. The frame looks in good shape with minor fixes and surface rust. I didn't know about the rubber axles but I planned on getting new everything anyway. My main concern about the axles is being able to take it the couples miles to my house without having get trailer it out.
The plus from this is 2 fold- #1 only going a few miles (no problem) and #2 -to your own place ( no one to complain about it, hopefully).
New complete Dexter Axles ( W/bearings/ electric brakes) are around $900 each, or less.
Could you tow it for years, with / old,worn out axles?Sure, lots do, but like stated above, rough ride.
I would get it home first, then see how the damage is.
Its not like you're going to damage it much further, might be fun-
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:33 PM   #19
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Windows will be the first big expense, you can get by with old axils, but you need windows.
Plexiglass will turn yellow in 2 years, Count the windows, multiply x $700 that is your entrance fee. (Plus the $600) If you find them cheeper please let me know! The 70s partitions are made out or high quality Formica lamented plywood. No chip board practically indestructible. Very light weight and strong..
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:27 AM   #20
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Yeah B. Cole, I live in the middle of nowhere so it can sit and rot away and nobody will car (not that it will!)
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